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Bing adds social networks and more answers to Snapshot information sidebar

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Bing Snapshot
Bing Snapshot

Search engines are increasingly moving from lists of content to directories that figure out what you want and highlight it. In Bing, that means Snapshot, a sidebar that appears for popular searches like "Abraham Lincoln" with photos, short biographies, and related information. Today, Microsoft is expanding Snapshot to pull in more information from search patterns and social networks. For present-day celebrities, Bing's sidebar will now include information from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Klout, with each indicated by an icon below the name — the only notable social gap is, perhaps unsurprisingly, Google+. For professionals on LinkedIn, things like work experience and education will appear.

Outside present-day people, the expansion is less dramatic, but Bing is adding more related information when searching for historical figures or places. In the handful of examples we tried, the results usually aren't markedly different from Google's own side panel. Bing will also directly answer questions whenever it can, bringing up "Mt. Everest" for "tallest mountain in the world," for example. Google does this too, but in our once again anecdotal searches, we saw more divergence: Bing was better at answering geographical questions, while Google won out in cultural ones like "Who wrote Fight Club?" The new Snapshot is live now, with more information at the Bing blog.